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Salad King

Location: Younge and O'Keefe (one block north of Dundas), Toronto

I'm picky about rice. It bores me and fills me up easily, so I generally order noodles instead when possible. I am endlessly interested in noodles. There are some amazingly good risotti in the world, although I don't often try to find them. Lemon rice can be delicious, but it's rarely available. Fried rice is usually too greasy for me, with all its flavors diluted into one amorphous greasy one. In other words, I don't usually try to hard to find rice which will interest me because I am easily disappointed, bored, and full from it. Which brings me to Salad King, a restaurant I went to several weeks ago with hereward and double0hilly - because their fried rice was flavorful, varied, and delicious. It was the best dish I sampled there.

Salad King isn't quite just-another-Yonge-Street-Thai restaurant because their plates and serving bowls are too elegant for that. There's a downstairs portion, with minimalist decor and long tables. It reminded me vaguely of places like Belgo (in London, UK), although on a much smaller scale. Diners crowded in, eating from beautifully arrayed platters and trays, all in simple, elegant white china. We were headed up stairs to the full-service portion of the restaurant, called "Linda", complete with wine and linens. Linda herself came by to introduce herself and her restaurant in an elegantly high-ceilinged room with dark wood to contrast the white of the tableclothes.

I had dinner plans elsewhere, so I only ordered an appetizer, then stuck around to steal bites of everyone elses' appetizers and mains. My mango salad was substantial, underripe mango julienned into a pile of delicate slivers. It was a respectable salad - although I like mango salad even better when the mango is juicier - but the presentation is really what made the dish spectacular. Not only was the dish itself beautifully laid out, it was presented in an angled white china bowl, a good two inches lower on one side than the other. This meant that the dish was displayed to me personally, and my dining companions had to lean over the top of my bowl to discover what lay inside. The point of the dish isn't secretiveness though - it's very nice presentation.

The chicken satay skewers were a bit dry, but the peanut sauce was good. The soft shell cold rolls, a recommended specialty, were flavored in unexpected ways - if it was the pickled carrot, the mango, or the dipping sauce which made the difference, I can't remember at this distance. I don't remember being particularly enticed into ordering more of the cold rolls - but I remember that they were decent. Nor can I remember what double0hilly's main dish was called - but I do clearly remembe the beautiful contrast between the colors of the ingredients layered together on the plate, bright greens against purples and reds, and I remember how nicely cooked the mini-eggplants were which came with it, the vegetable highlight of the meal. Indeed, the mini-eggplant, crisp, but cooked, and the multivalent tastes of the fried rice are what stay with me this many weeks later after eating there.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
retsuko
Jun. 27th, 2004 01:50 pm (UTC)
I'm in agreement with you about the rice/noodles conundrum. And the restaurant sounds fab! You've made me all hungry now.
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